Blair Garner’s Pete Buttigieg Interview Kept Off Westwood One Show. After Cumulus Media denied nationally syndicated overnight country radio host Blair Garner (left) permission to air segments of his interview with Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (center) (but allowed him to post it on his personal Soundcloud account) the company is facing public scrutiny over its decision. Cumulus’s official statement was that equal-time concerns – especially considering the large number of Democratic candidates running – were the only reasons for not allowing the interview on the air. Regarding the equal-time rule, TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says, “As it applies to advertising, the rule means that if a station sells advertising to one candidate, it must offer the same amount of time to other candidates. Where the rule gets confusing to some is that if the station offers free air time to a candidate, it must offer free air time to other candidates. However, the [four] exceptions to the rule effectively eliminate this as a concern because free air time to other candidates is not required if the air time being used – as with the Buttigieg interview – is a bona fide news interview. Other candidates are not required to be given equal time. Therefore, the position of Cumulus Media that they are not running the interview because the provisions of the equal time rule would require them to provide air time for interviews with all of the other candidates, is an inaccurate interpretation of the rule.” It’s possible that Cumulus is choosing to avoid the political “can of worms” entirely by not engaging in political content on a country music show. Some critics, perhaps cynically, are suggesting the company’s true motive centers on the fact that Buttigieg is openly gay and the country music audience is traditionally conservative. Garner said it all started when he was approached by Buttigieg’s campaign ahead of his appearance in Nashville. Garner agreed to the interview because Buttigieg requested it. Garner told Buttigieg during the interview, “I think that our base tends to be more conservative. And the fact that you, from the Democratic ticket, are the singular candidate to reach out and to say, ‘May I please be on your show?’ That you are reaching out to our listeners, I think we all have to embrace that and be appreciative of that.”
Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with the Panel Discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media. TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story. Today’s (7/23) post: the panel discussion, “Overcoming Distrust of the Media” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, the Joe Pags Show; Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, the Rick Ungar Program/editor-in-chief, TheDalyCentrist.com. The session was moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One. Posted yesterday (7/22): the presentation of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech award to Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel. Posted Friday (7/19): the discussion “Attracting Younger Demos to Talk Radio” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY (Rock 102), Springfield, MA; Greg Foster, VP/programming and national news/talk brand coordinator, iHeart Media/PD, KOA, Denver; John T. Mullen, operations manager, WRHU, Hofstra University; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; and Rich Zeoli, host, WPHT, Philadelphia. The session was moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS. Also already posted: discussion “Talk Radio in the Era of Watch What You Say” featuring panelists (in alphabetical order) Michael Berry, host, Michael Berry Show; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator of news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart Media; Karen Hunter, host SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Brett Winterble, host KFMB, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. Also already posted: WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley saluting the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Vince Benedetto, CEO of Bold Gold Media Group receiving the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Talk Radio Broadcaster (“Humanitarian of the Year”); a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network; panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video. The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York. Also posted: special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOne; Steven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi Media; Michael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history. TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year. To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.
Gallagher Broadcasts from ‘Teen Student Action Summit.’ Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallagher (left) speaking with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk (right) live from the group’s “Teen Student Action Summit” in Washington, DC. Scheduled speakers at the three-day event include: President Trump, U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, plus Gallagher’s SRN colleague, Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
Sports Talk WNDE-AM, Indianapolis Losing FM Translator. According to a piece in the Indianapolis Star, iHeartMedia has new plans for FM translator W248AW at 97.5. Local management is only saying they will debut a new format on the signal “very shortly.” iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Dave Hill tells the paper that the programming on sports talk WNDE-AM remains the same. WNDE-AM airs FOX Sports Radio programming, the local “Query & Schultz” PM drive show plus Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh.
Mueller Testimony, Immigration-Asylum Policy, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Iran Tensions, Louisiana Cops’ AOC Threat, $320B Budget Deal/Debt Ceiling Rises, Puerto Rico Protests, UK PM Race, and Brady-Daughter Cliff Jump Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). Wednesday’s testimony before the House judiciary and intelligence committees by special counsel Robert Mueller; the Trump administration’s immigration and asylum policies and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border; the Democrats vying for the nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020; Iran’s claim to have arrested 17 CIA operatives; two Louisiana police officers are fired for social media post suggesting Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot; the two-year budget deal that raises the debt ceiling and allows for $320 billion in new spending; the protests roiling Puerto Rico over Governor Ricardo Rossello’s leaked chat messages; Britain’s prime minister race between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt; and the flap over video of Tom Brady and his daughter jumping off a cliff into water were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming and on-air pro Walter Flakus moves from Cumulus Media’s alternative WKQX, Chicago to Entercom’s KNDD, Seattle “107.7 The End” where he’s taking on assistant program director and afternoon drive duties, effective August 6. He’d been APD, music director and evening personality at WKQX. Entercom Seattle SVP and market manager Jack Hutchison says, “We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented programmer to the ‘107.7 The End’ team. Walter brings extensive experience and leadership both on and off the air which will benefit listeners and partners.”…..In Atlanta, Cox Media Group names Chris Centore assistant program director for urban contemporary WALR, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” and classic hits WSRV. Additionally, he’s hosting the PM drive program on “B98.5.” Centore joined WSB-FM in April of this year. He’d previously worked in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. He says, “I am excited for this new opportunity with ‘B98.5’ and to work alongside Chris Eagan and the CMGA team. I look forward to being part of our listeners’ afternoon commute and to help our radio stations continue to deliver the best, most compelling on-air content in Atlanta.”…..Hubbard Radio St. Louis inks morning man Scott Rizzuto to a multi-year contract renewal to stay with alternative rock KPNT “105.7 The Point” with castmates Tony Patrico, Jeff Burton, Phillip Sneed, and Scott McNew. Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Hubbard Radio believes in live and local talent. The Rizzuto show is undeniable when it comes to connecting with listeners, mirroring their lifestyles, and talking about things that matter locally. ‘The Rizzuto Show’ love is real! We’re excited to partner with Scott for another four years.”…..Radio One programming pro Arthur “A-Plus” Willis – currently PD for hip hop WIZF, Cincinnati “The Wiz 101.1” – is adding programming responsibilities for the company’s rhythmic CHR WCKX, Columbus “Power 107.3/106.3.”…..All day today, Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM, Philadelphia is playing exclusively Rolling Stones songs as “102.9MCK – All Stones All the Time” in recognition of the band’s show this evening at Lincoln Financial Field. “102.9MCK” is also providing complete concert coverage with afternoon drive host Andre Gardner broadcasting live from the venue.